Wisconsin Lost Manufacturing Jobs in 2016

Overall Hiring Also Slowed Dramatically, According To New Numbers

A factory worker operating equipment.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Wisconsin lost manufacturing jobs in 2016, the first year that’s happened since the Great Recession.

Detailed job numbers released Friday afternoon by the state Department of Workforce Development show Wisconsin lost 3,776 manufacturing jobs.

The job losses came at a time when Wisconsin was spending nearly $300 million a year to cut manufacturers’ income and corporate taxes in an effort to grow the state’s economy.

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The same set of job numbers also showed overall hiring slowed in 2016 as the state added just 11,590 private sector jobs.

That’s the lowest total in any year since the Great Recession ended in 2009. By comparison, Wisconsin added 38,077 private sector jobs in 2015 and 36,758 in 2014.

The job numbers come from the state’s submission to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which economists regard as the “gold standard” of job metrics. A comparison with other states won’t be available until June.

They come at a time when Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has dropped to 3.2 percent.

Taken as a whole, that means most Wisconsin residents who want jobs have them, but growth of the state’s workforce dramatically slowed in 2016, and the manufacturing workforce got smaller.

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